We all had our favorite teachers, people who we look back on fondly or who impacted our lives in a major way. Most of mine were high school English teachers: Mr. Stough my freshman year, Mrs. Stokesbury my junior and senior years, and a creative writing teacher whose name I can't quite remember right now.
I had a couple of favorite teachers in college, as well. The two I remember best also taught classes that had a major impact on how I have come to view literature: Dr. Farkas, who taught The English Bible as Literature, and Dr. Crater, who taught Nineteenth Century Women's Fiction, and whom this post is about.
Just a couple of days ago, I was looking up the "Bible as Literature" class for my dad -- as a senior, he gets to sit in on (or "audit") classes for free, and he has always been intrigued by my stories about that class. While I was looking up the class on Metro's website, I came across another class by Dr. Crater that I always wanted to take but never got to: Native American Literature. Despite the fact that I graduated almost three years ago, I'd enroll in a heartbeat if the class weren't full, but unfortunately it is one of those classes that fills up very quickly.
Seeing the class listed got me thinking about the Women's Fiction class again, though. I took the class in the spring of 2004, when I had several other things going on in my life -- specifically, the last few months of a bad relationship (and a very bad breakup). Having a women's fiction class with a feminist teacher was probably the best thing that could have happened to me that semester.
Beyond that, though, the class was probably the most intriguing -- and the most fun -- I've ever had. There were only about a dozen people in the class, tops, and we had some of the best discussions I ever experienced in college. It was also one of the semesters when I was able to further develop a passion that had been taking root for several semesters: a strong interest (read: obsession) in the Bronte sisters. Looking back on that class, I can see the impact it made on my life, and the part it played in all the other changes taking place that semester.
I emailed my old teacher to say hi and to say I was thinking about signing up for the class next time it was offered. To my delight, I got a response this morning... and I discovered that she finally published the book she had been writing back then! She had spent quite a while researching the book, as I remember, and was quite disappointed when Dan Brown got The DaVinci Code out before she had a chance to finish hers.
At any rate, I plan to buy the book very soon. I've asked Dr. Crater where the best place is to buy it, as I know that certain outlets mean lower royalties for the writer. While I'm waiting for a response, though, you can read about it here: Under the Stone Paw by Theresa Crater.